The Chicks Had Balls, Then Lost Them
(Printed in the Towanda Daily Review in March, 2003.) )
The Dixie Chicks recently got their, well let me just say that they got something caught in the wringer when they -- God forbid -- criticized George W. Bush for his planned invasion of Iraq. While on a European tour, lead singer Natalie Maines said, “Just so you know, we're ashamed the President of the United States is from Texas."
As expected -- maybe not by Ms. Maines though -- there was an uproar, particularly among country & western music fans. Some radio stations banned their music, and former fans swore boycotts of their concerts and music. They have since “explained” their comment and offered the apology, "As a concerned American citizen, I apologize to President Bush because my remark was disrespectful," she said in a statement released soon after the original comment. "I feel that whoever holds that office should be treated with the utmost respect."
Did I miss something here? Did John Ashcroft somehow finally repeal the First Amendment when I wasn’t paying attention. This is the United States. We have a great tradition of criticizing our leaders. Countless brave men and women have given their lives to protect this right and the ideas set forth in our Constitution.
Granted, if the Chicks can criticize Bush, then others have the right to criticize and boycott the Chicks. That’s the American way. But to say that they are unpatriotic is absurd. To say that they are entertainers and, as such, have no right to political commentary is equally absurd. Given that the world’s leaders, including Bush, are supposed to be qualified for their positions, and given that the state of the world is not as good as is could be, one can conclude that the world’s leaders are not quite as qualified as thought to be. As such, why would entertainers who (except for Ronald Reagan) haven’t negatively affected the world, be viewed as not being qualified to criticize and comment politically?
The American way is to criticize our leaders and their policies. To give up this right and obligation would not only concede defeat, it would be an insult to everyone who has ever had to defend our Constitution.
John L. Ferri